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Laramie Movie Scope:
The Boxtrolls

A clever, funny, grotesque animated film

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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October 3, 2014 -- This film is getting positive reviews from critics, deservedly so, for its interesting characters and solid story, but I could have done without so much of the “ick” factor: Dumpy, ugly, sometimes grotesque-looking characters, and that's not even including the trolls. The trolls actually look more attractive than some of the “human” characters, except when they are eating bugs.

But if you can get past the bugs, slime, dirt, ugliness and unkempt hair, the story is a pretty good one. It takes place in a strange town called Cheesebridge filled with very unattractive people who are concerned about these boxtrolls. Basically these are trolls who wear boxes in place of clothing. They hide inside these boxes to escape their enemies, which are the boxtroll exterminators, led by a very ugly villain (especially when he eats cheese) named Archibald Snatcher.

Archibald, and his alter-ego, a woman whose stage performances keep the anti-boxtroll sentiment running high in Cheesebridge, makes a deal the mayor, Lord Portley-Rind, to elevate Archibald to the highest ranks of society if he manages to destroy all the boxtrolls. Archibald has a secret plan to eliminate all the boxtrolls, using a deadly machine. It turns out the boxtrolls are harmless, and even beneficial, since they are very handy at fixing machines.

One of the main characters is Eggs, a boy who has been raised by the boxtrolls. He thinks he is a boxtroll, until he learns otherwise. To the humans in Cheesebridge, he is widely known as a boy who was kidnapped by boxtrolls years ago and is presumed dead. It turns out that is not what happened at all. Another main character is Winnie, the daughter of the mayor, who befriends Eggs and through him learns the truth about Boxtrolls. Together, they work to save the boxtrolls and to derail the evil plans of Archibald and his minions.

The story is a good one about the evils of fear-mongering and the benefits of inclusiveness. The main characters are distinctive and interesting, although the mayor is a complete idiot. It is up to the kids in this one to figure out what is really going on in Cheesebridge and set things right. They will get no help at all from these dim-witted, cheese-obsessed adults. The boxtrolls speak their own troll language, and that puts severe limits on the voice actors and hampers character development. The story is imaginative and the film is visually interesting, even though the images are sometimes very unpleasant to look at. The visual imagination and imagery are reminiscent in some ways of the illustrations in the old Dr. Seuss books.

This is a stop-motion animation film which is similar in some ways to other stop-motion movies like “Corpse Bride” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2014 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)